My Easel

December 17, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — Aditya Sengupta @ 1:49 am

I’m back!

Here’s an interesting thing I saw today. Something I didn’t know about although it has apparently been in the works for over a year now.

The other day, it was late in the evening and I was heading home from college. I was really tired that day and I knew trains would be really crowded at that time. I thought of taking a bus home when voilà- there it was- a tantalizingly empty bus that would take me right home. I decided to take the bus- not an easy choice mind you. A 40 minute train journey home translates to a 2 hour bus ride.

I noticed them as soon as I sat down. 2 TV screens at the front of the bus. Small but nice. And probably quite expensive- LCD TVs:

TV screens on local bus 2

TV screens on local bus 1

(click through and mouse over the photographs in my flickrstream)

These TVs primarily show advertisements- for current movies mostly. There were also intermittent messages about various routes that the buses ply on- these were too rapid to read and generally pointless.

The TVs are hooked up to the Wadala bus depot and are used primarily in buses that are on longer routes. Which explains why I’ve haven’t encountered them earlier even though I take about 3-4 buses daily- all on short routes.

Another thing I noticed was the presence of CCTV cameras at entrance and exit. The TV screens and CCTV cameras have both been installed by a company called EMNET. The bus operator, BEST intends to earn some revenue out of this arrangement. BEST is pretty ambitious about this project:

“All buses will be equipped with LCD display screens. Commuters will have the choice of viewing anything, right from news, music videos, advertisements to even cricket matches,” said Uttam Khobragade, general manager, BEST. The administration has targeted to install these systems in all of its 3,350 buses by late 2007.

What do you think?



  1. Now we all know …
    Audio would be pointless in the surrounding din. I wonder if the screens are large enough for people in the back. I’d have expected BEST to experiment with this on a few buses before universal installation, although expenses can probably be recovered in a short time thru advertising.
    CCTV is another useful concept to catch pickpockets, reward good drivers and conductors, etc.

    Comment by Samit Sengupta — December 17, 2007 @ 11:01 am | Reply

  2. I generally like a bit of peace and quiet on my bus rides coz the only time I take em is when I wish to unwind and having a TV flashing ads at me sounds pretty annoying. However, if you’re a regular commuter and your bus ride cuts into your consumption of movie trailers… well, why not?
    CCTV, however, might be of real use. An intrusion of privacy but helpful.

    Comment by Amrita — December 17, 2007 @ 11:32 am | Reply

  3. The TVs screens were about 14-15 inches- so not too intrusive. Although it was pretty clear from where I was sitting- right above the rear tires, the first seat you encounter after you enter from the rear.

    And although the audio was neither inaudible nor intrusive, the repetitiveness gets to you after a while. I forgot to mention, there are like 5-6 ads that go on over and over again. These are times when you get to truly appreciate your iPod/MP3 player/cellphone 😉

    The CCTVs I’m happy about, and I hope they’re being utilized to the fullest. These are intrusions of privacy that I can live with.

    About universal installation, the last report I read, these systems had only been installed on a hundred buses. The bus conductor also said that these systems were present only on buses that ply on longer routes. BEST does apparently intend on installing these systems across its fleet.

    Comment by Aditya — December 17, 2007 @ 10:07 pm | Reply

  4. Ah yes I have seen those LCD TVs too. Came as a bit of a surprise to me when I hopped into the bus one irritable hot sunny afternoon. Must have missed the CCTVs though. Anyways a big improvement by BEST.

    Comment by Anand Modi — December 25, 2007 @ 11:09 am | Reply

  5. Lol..This is 504. I’m sick and tired of those ad’s. Especially at the very beginning they had these Himesh trailors that got to my nerves. And I don’t see any cricket matches being aired as of now.

    My take whatever you like but no audio. People want to read and ruminate in the bus and it’s very annoying to have blaring Bollywood music.

    Comment by Anne Blythe — February 9, 2008 @ 4:54 pm | Reply

  6. Nice TVs

    Comment by Jimbo — April 20, 2008 @ 5:42 am | Reply

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